Mil Averwater

We are very pleased to have documented the longevity of Amro Music in Memphis, Tennessee. With the recent donation of an audio recording of the store’s founder, the NAMM Oral History Program now contains four generations of owners!

Mil Averwater (1896-1983) was the founder of Amro Music. His grandson, Chip, had the forethought to record his grandfather on audio tape talking about the early days of the store. Chip donated this interview for the NAMM website to allow us to bridge together each generation of Averwater’s who have operated the store. Mil’s son, Robert, was interviewed in 2008 and his sons, Chip (interviewed several times starting in 2000) and Pat (interviewed in 2019) both provided their insight as to the growth and development of the business. Chip’s son, CJ, was interviewed in 2018 and so the tradition continued! Mil was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1896 and moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1921 to open a music studio to give lessons with his partner, Frank Morman. The business grew over time and soon included selling musical instruments. Today, the store stands as a pillar not only in Memphis but within the music products industry as it has provided leadership for a number of key associations and organizations over the years, including NAMM and NASMD.

In addition to the Averwater family, the NAMM Oral History Collection contains several store employees and musicians, such as Booker T. Jones, who purchased his first instrument at Amro (it was a clarinet, not the Hammond B-3). Band instrument repairman, Vernon Drane, who was interviewed in 2008 worked for Amro for 68 years! We are proud to present this amazing and inspiring story within these archives.

Click here to listen to a segment from Mil’s interview.

Click here to see a full list of interviews that have a connection to Amro Music.


Dan Del FIorentino
Music Historian